The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will work through the People’s Majlis to strengthen the local government system, reform the judiciary and eliminate barriers to development, former President Mohamed Nasheed has said.
“The People’s Majlis’ aim must be to hold the government accountable and strengthen the government,” Nasheed said at a ceremony for candidates who gained the MDP ticket for the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 22.
The MDP released official results of the primaries on Saturday. Polls were held to determine candidates for 56 constituencies, while 28 candidates were granted the party ticket without a primary due to a lack of contestants.
Kaashidhoo MP Abdulla Jabir had initially gained the MDP ticket uncontested, but the party has called for new applicants after Jabir voted for President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet on December 30 against a three-whip line.
“When primaries are contsted, it strengthens the party. I hope those who lost the primaries will now back the winning candidates and that the entire party works together to win a majority in the People’s Majlis,” Nasheed said.
Nasheed narrowly lost November’s presidential elections with 48.61 percent of the vote.
The Progressive Party of the Maldives’ (PPM) Abdulla Yameen won 51.39 percent with the backing of the Jumhooree Party (JP), Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), and the Adhaalath Party (AP).
The MDP will check the government’s administration of public finances to ensure the economy benefits all citizens, and will monitor the government’s respect for individual rights, he said.
Incumbent MPs made a strong showing in the MDP’s parliamentary primaries between January 24 and 31. The list of winners can be found here (Dhivehi).
Only Feydhoo MP Alhan Fahmy and Henveiru Dhekunu MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor lost the party tickets.
Alhan has alleged irregularities in the voter registry and declared he will contest the results after losing the seat to Mohamed Nihad- who received 316 votes to the incumbent’s 154. The party has said it found no grounds to call for a revote.
Alhan is currently undergoing surgery in Sri Lanka after he was severely injured in a stab attack last night. His family alleges the attack was premeditated and politically motivated.
Hamid has said he will support winning candidate ‘Rukuma’ Mohamed Abdul Kareem.
The MDP’s primaries have been marred by suggestions of irregularities. The party was forced to call off its first attempt at polls on January 24 due to poor organisation and voter registry issues.
The MDP election committee chair Ibrahim Waheed said the party had received several complaints regarding additions and reductions to the list of eligible voters. But none of the complaints affect the results, he said.
“The MDP’s membership committee assures me the list was publicised. It is not a secret list.”
Elections Commission figures show 43,000 members registered with the MDP, but 57,000 members were eligible to vote in the party’s primaries.
Waheed said the MDP had received over 12,000 new membership forms in December and had decided to proceed with a list of members who had registered with the party by January 10.
Meanwhile, the governing coalition reached a deal last week on reserving a set number of seats for each party. Of the 85 seats, PPM will contest 49, JP will contest 28 and MDA will contest 8 seats.
The PPM has said it will hold primaries on February 7. PPM members in Laamu Atoll Maavah constituency held protests on Friday claiming the party had handed the party ticket to incumbent Abdul Azeez Jamal Abu Bakr without a primary.
Meanwhile, the JP and MDA have also granted party tickets to incumbents without a primary. JP council members have subsequentlyspoken out against the selection process to determine candidates.